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Developers Follow the Money to iOS


ios versus Android

Developers argue over lots of different things, but when it comes to whether they prefer iOS or Android, the evidence suggests that in spite of Android's clear lead in devices, developers follow the money to iOS.

Now, before you start arguing, you have to consider the evidence, and more than one study suggests that developers choose iOS because it's more profitable. There you have it. It always comes down to money.

First, let's look at marketshare where Android, at least in pure numbers, has a clear lead. According to the most recent comScore US mobile marketshare numbers for July, 2012, Android lead iOS in pure marketshare, 52.2 percent to 33.4 percent. The numbers would suggest you go where the eyeballs go, right?

But the number of phones doesn't neccessarily tell the whole story.

In fact, in a June blog post in the Guardian, writers Charles Arthur and Stuart Dredge came to a similar conclusion. In this case, they were citing a study of revenue from iOS versus Android app stores and found iOS blew Android away when it came to revenue. Quoting them:

"Distimo and analyst firm CCS Insight launched their App Vu Global service in early April 2012, tracking downloads and revenues from the app stores. Its initial findings claimed that Apple's App Store is generating $5.4m every day in app sales for the top 200 grossing iPhone and iPad apps. For Google Play, their estimate was just $679,000 for the top 200 grossing apps on Google Play, or about 12% of Apple's revenue."

And that's just one data point, how about we look at new project starts?

According to Flurry, a mobile app tracking analysis firm, the numbers greatly favor iOS. For the second quarter of this year, at least, two-thirds of developers were reporting new iOS projects compared to just 28 percent for Android. As an interesting aside, Microsoft had moved from one percent of new projects to 4 percent, a move significant enough that Flurry analysts were suggesting that Android might have to be looking over its shoulder.

I'm not sure I would go that far. I'm guessing it's more because RIM lost ground and Microsoft was pushing developers to create programs for the Windows platform with cash incentives.

But not every report has found this to be the case. A recent report released in July by Evans Data stated that it was Android that was the most popular choice, and that 94 percent of developers reported developing at least some of their apps for multiple platforms (and I would believe that too).

It seems though that developers are developing for iOS first though because that's where the money is. Development takes time and time is money. It only makes sense that a majority of developers would start projects on the platform most likely to generate the highest revenue. And that platform appears to be iOS.

What do you think? Are you more likely to develop on iOS first because it's more profitable?

Graphic by Tsahi Levent-Levi on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

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